Kevlamin won an audience with the captain of the guard in the village, Damenan, who promised to wait at the inn with his men for the fugitives to return and hold them. Next, they talked to the local trapper, Hal Pensak, about old legends and learned that there used to be druids in the Goldwood who left standing stones and, possibly, the manticore to guard them. Lastly, Kevlamin traded his short bow for some rope and a mastiff trained for fighting named Fang (the rope from the trader and Fang from the local dog trainer, Cobus Pini). But before they could do anything else, word came that the fugitives had been captured at the inn. More precisely, the fugitives were outside the inn with a circle of almost a dozen archers around them. Brechtje tried to speak in the defense of the fugitives, arguing for the importance of their quest, but Kevlamin and Clair would hear none of it. The fugitives tried then to make a break for it, but were overwhelmed by sheer numbers, tied up, and gagged. The deputies recovered one of the stolen horses and, lacking a saddle, Nodwick still wound up carrying anything possibly dangerous the fugitives had on the long trek back to Garham.
Back in Garham, Mina and Regdar had tricked the priest of Cuthbert, Hamid, into letting them take Rex’s unburied coffin on the pretense that the crimes of his friends would look badly on the chapel. They promised to keep the coffin under guard at the cemetery, but as soon as they were alone Regdar started performing some amateur surgery on the corpse to remove what organs he could. Or at least they thought they were alone, for a couple belonging to the Green Lady Cult caught them and seemed about to draw weapons on them, but Mina and Regdar again talked their way out of trouble, convincing the cultists that this was an obscure burial ritual wherein the organs needed to be burned separately. The cultists observed and took notes as the dark deed was done.
Further trouble while Mina and Regdar were still waiting in Garham on Godsday morning. They were attending the traditional Godsday ceremonies in the market square outside the chapel with the usual crowd of 100+, but this time the gang of ruffians arrived late and began heckling the priests. Regdar tried to talk the lead heckler into leaving, but was knocked out with a sword pommel to the head for his efforts. The ruffians might have done more to the poor elf, but Mina led the town guards through the crowd and dispersed the ruffians. While Regdar rested and slowly recovered, Mina spoke to the priests and learned that the ruffians, known as Dirty George’s Gang, had embarrassed them so bad that they were willing to unofficially pay Mina and her friends to get rid of them. Mina refused the offer, but kept an eye on the gang throughout the day and learned that they were too good at concealing their worst behavior whenever the town watch was watching. Finally, after Regdar had recovered, the pair of them observed Dirty George’s Gang heading out to the Lake Woods to hunt for the giant otter again and pursued.
Meanwhile, the deputies were dragging their prisoners back home on the final leg of the journey through the Lake Woods when they came on a battle. It was not Mina and Regdar fighting the gang, though they did spot Mina and Regdar watching the battle on its far side. Rather, the battle was between the gang and the giant otter and Dirty George himself, who Mina and Regdar had just observed being charmed by some spell of the otter’s into aiding it. From both sides, the friends rushed the ruffians. Kevlamin and Clair found themselves evenly matched by the ruffians they fought, but Mina was stabbed in the arm badly enough to make her lose consciousness and Regdar was run through with a spear and killed (not unlike Rex’s death, ironically). Seredoc, the last of the Halfling slingers still accompanying them, met his untimely end as well. Luckily, Fang was more than a match for the ruffians (at least in single combat) and allowed Kevlamin and Clair to pull out of melee and retrieve Mina. Thelonius stayed behind, unwilling to leave the battle, and covered their retreat.
And so, only Kevlamin, Clair, Mina, Nodwick, and Fang made it back to Garham alive. Their prisoners – the fugitives Flex, Setch, and Rex3 – had jumped into the river and drifted downstream to freedom during the battle. Settling in to rest at Fester’s Hostel, Kevlamin and Clair debated what to do next, but decided it was hopeless to find the fugitives now and that they would next journey on to the City of Greyhawk. And no sooner had Mina recovered than she found an old friend, a human fighter who coincidentally was also named Regdar, willing to accompany them.
((Current XP by the end))
Kevlamin – 2,078 (2nd level!)
Clair – 1,822
Mina – 1,062
Regdar (the 2nd one) – will start with 1,039